Preparations underway for possible summit between Abbas, Netanyahu,Obama
RAMALLAH, Aug. 26 (Xinhua) -- A three-way summit for Palestinian, Israeli and U.S. leaders is expected to take place during the United Nations General Assembly in New York next month, Palestinian sources said on Wednesday.
The sources confirmed that preparations to hold that meeting were underway but refused to confirm or deny whether president Mahmoud Abbas would accept to attend the meeting with Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and U.S. President Barack Obama.
According to the sources, Abbas wants Israel to stop building settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem before agreeing to meet Netanyahu.
Obama's administration also wants the Jewish state to stop the settlement activities because they make creating a Palestinian statehood in the future almost impossible.
Obama is awaited to declare his vision on pushing forward the Middle East peace talks at his speech before the General Assembly.
The peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians have stopped when Israel launched a three-week offensive in the Gaza Strip in late December.
Prior to visiting New York, president Abbas will stop at Arab countries in northern Africa and a number of European states, including France and Spain.
[link to news.xinhuanet.com
Aug 27, 2009 0:33 | Updated Aug 27, 2009 9:23PM Binyamin Netanyahu will likely meet with Abbas in Sept.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas seem headed for their first meeting in late September on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, with Netanyahu on Wednesday terming Abbas's apparent agreement to meet as his "first positive step."
"If Abu Mazen [Abbas] really means what he has said, then this is a positive step," Netanyahu said at a press briefing in Berlin, where he arrived after meeting US Mideast envoy George Mitchell in London earlier in the day. "I've been saying for a while that I am ready to renew negotiations."
Netanyahu was responding to an AP report quoting Palestinian officials saying Abbas would be willing to meet next month at the UN. The meeting would be the first between the two leaders since Netanyahu took office in March. Abbas has up until now said he would not begin negotiations with Netanyahu until there was a total settlement freeze.
The Palestinian officials said Abbas was not dropping his conditions, and that the meeting would be a chance to talk, but would not constitute negotiations.
Netanyahu said that "some progress" was registered at his meeting with Mitchell, but that additional meetings were needed. The goal, he said, was to find a formula that would enable the launching of the diplomatic process, while enabling "normal life" to continue in the settlements.
The prime minister announced that he would send a delegation to the US next week to continue meeting with Mitchell, and that the US envoy would be returning to Israel for more meetings in the first half of September.Netanyahu repeatedly declined to give any details of the discussion on the settlements with Mitchell, and laughed when asked about a report in the Arab media that he had agreed with Mitchell to a settlement freeze.
"We can't only talk about things that interest them," Netanyahu said. "We also have our core issues," including recognition of Israel as a Jewish state and the "end of conflict" issue.
[link to www.jpost.com